Re: Monogenhs etymology

Luke McNab (
Sat, 04 Jan 1997 16:47:07 -0800

Harry Harm quotes Carl Conrad:
Carl Conrad wrote, "Frankly, although etymology fascinates me, I don't
think this is ultimately very important for the MEANING of MONOGENHS;
more significant ultimately than etymology surely is actual attested
usage of the word elsewhere in Greek texts."
I suggest that the above expression is a reflection of modern views
and interpretation where _usage_ is considered superior to _etymology_.
With this the "ancients" [like myself] would not concur, IMHO. The very
basis of a word is its etymology. One ought to remember that especially
in Hebrew normally three letters formed the fundamental meaning of a
word. Prefix, infix, and suffix would modify the word and give additionl
nuances, but the etymology harked back to the original three [normally]
letters. I believe that usage [and we only have limited usages extant]
cannot deny the base and etymology of a word, again IMHO.
The references given by me for the Hebrew corresponding word to
MONOGENHS deals with the primary significance of the word which is
"only-begotten". Other references were omitted as a slight difference or
nuance was probably implied.
In no way am I trying to build any doctrine on any one verse, but I
believe that in all honesty the validity of the KJV [esp. in John 3:16]
ought to be admitted and not detracted from, by translators.
As mentioned in a previous post, interpretation [esp. of theological
words] in the NT ought to be based on the LXX usage and etymology,
rather than classical usage of Greek, as the writers quoted voluminously
from the LXX.
With respect to "pineapple" and its derivation as suggested by
Jonathan, it is needful to realize that English like other Teutonic
languages, likes to put nouns together and in combination, where other
languages would use an adjective. It is interesting to note that in
Spanish the word "pin~a" is used; Portuguese "pinha"; and in the tropics
just the word "pine" is frequently used for pineapple. The etymology
then does not consist of "pine" + "apple". Perhaps one ought to be very
careful in linking "apparent" etymology where no relation exists. The
validity of etymology is, IMHO, the basis for meanings of words,
otherwise we are reduced to confusion, slang and modern jargon! American
English is fast becoming such as we emphasize more and more "usage" over